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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Teaching Wolfie Fetch

I thought all dogs loved to play fetch.  I throw the ball or a Frisbee for Wolfie and he just looks at me like I have two heads.  I yell "Wolfie fetch!  Wolfie fetch!" and he just lays at my feet.  Do I have a stupid dog?


No, Wolfie isn't stupid.  What you have to understand is that "Fetch" is a learned behavior just like Sit, Stay, Come, etc.  You also must understand that some dogs just might not like to play "Fetch".

Let's assume that Wolfie would like to play fetch.  Just like teaching our kids to play baseball or basketball, we have to teach Wolfie how to play "Fetch".  You first have to understand that there are two pieces to "Fetch".  The first piece is for Wolfie to run and pick up an object that you throw and the second piece is for Wolfie to return it to you.  Let's first work on these two actions and see how Wolfie does.

Get the Object:
Take some object or toy that Wolfie likes.  Pick it up and wave it around in front of him.  Say things like "Where's the toy?  Get it, Get it Get it!!!  Oh boy!  Oh Boy!  Fetch! Fetch!" in a very excited, animated way while you are waving the toy.  Now throw it a few feet away from you and see if he goes after it.  If he does not, go over to the toy in a very animated manner, stoop or lean over the toy, and point to it.  Say things like "Get the toy!  Where's the toy!" in an excited manner.  

If Wolfie still doesn't run and pick it up.  You should get down on the ground, pick it up and play with it until Wolfie comes over.  Shake it and let Wolfie grab it.  As soon as he grabs it, let go and say "Good boy".

If Wolfie still needs come coaxing, replace the toy with a goodie or chew bone.  After he will run after that, replace it with a toy that you have coated with a slight "goodie smell".  (Rub a little gravy or raw meat on the toy.)  Slowly decrease the amount of the "goodie smell".

After Wolfie is going after the toy, increase the distance until Wolfie is running across the room or yard to get the toy.  Wolfie now can "get the object".  Now it is time to have him bring it to you.

Bring it Back:
Bringing the object back is essentially the come command with something in Wolfie's mouth.  For this, you need to attach a training lead to Wolfie's collar.  Throw the object and have Wolfie get it.  

Now, give Wolfie a command like "Fetch".  If he doesn't come back to you, give him a little tug on the training lead while you kneel down low.  If he still doesn't come to you, give him another little tug.  He should now come to you.

If Wolfie still doesn't return to you (some doggies are a little suborn), decrease the length you are throwing the toy.  

Repeat the process until Wolfie will return the toy to you without your needing to tug on the training lead.  Detach the training lead and repeat the process, having Wolfie get the toy and bring it back to you.

Wolfie now knows basic "Fetch".  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

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